There are three things that make the Shenandoah River valley a special place: the river, mountains and sky. Whether you are floating down the river or sitting and watching the sunset, all three elements combine to make it a great setting to appreciate nature. Here are a few photos from the six days we visited.
We stayed at Shenandoah River State Park which is on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, with Shenandoah National Park to the east and Massanutten Mountain in the George Washington National Forest to the west. From our campsite we watched the sun set over the mountains every evening, and in the morning the fog and clouds would hang over the river valley. It is definitely a relaxing spot to camp.
Of course, most people visit the valley to enjoy the river and we did too. The first day we rented a canoe and paddled 11.5 miles to check out the river. We knew it was shallow and there were a lot of small rapids so we wanted to make sure we could kayak the river without damaging our boats. After running into 30 or 40 rocks on our way down the river, we decided our kayaking would be limited.
While recuperating from our canoeing trip, we decided to take it easy the next day and went tubing down the river. It was a nice relaxing trip and also gave us some relief from the heat. Ed did do some kayaking the last day, going upstream through some small rapids and returning to the park.
While in Virginia, we drove to Maryland to visit Ed’s sister Nancy, her husband Craig, and Ed’s Mom Betty. Craig and Nancy have hosted the Prestemon Christmas Eve get-togethers for several years and, as usual, their great hospitality was appreciated by us weary travelers. At 90 years of age, Betty still looks great and it’s clear where Ed got his gray hair.
We also visited our old friends Tim Gallagher and Liliana Maldonado in Herndon, VA and enjoyed reminiscing with them, as well as sleeping in their guest room and having luxurious non-campground showers in the morning.
After Virginia we headed north to Bald Eagle State Park in central Pennsylvania. The park is located on a long man-made reservoir running next to Bald Eagle Mountain. We did some kayaking on the reservoir, and, true to the park’s and mountain’s names, we saw a bald eagle.
The next day was dreary and we decided to visit nearby State College, PA, home to Penn State University, to attend an arts festival and to tour the town and campus. The highlight of the day was a personal tour of the Penn State football stadium (with great views of the campus) that Patty managed to convince the sports museum manager to give us after we missed the final official tour of the day.
This morning we drove from Pennsylvania to Watkins Glen State Park in New York. We took a short detour to visit the Jersey Shore—Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania that is. They claim they have “plenty to offer except surf and sand”, but after driving through town we think we’ll hold out for the real Jersey Shore (according to our itinerary, days 65, 66, and 67 of our trip).
The forecast is for the low 90’s and high humidity the next few days—still searching for cool weather…